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Allison K. Ralph, PhD
Founder & Principal

Headshot of Allison Ralph who is smiling, wearing glasses, and has brown hair.

A thought leader in religious pluralism and social cohesion, Allison Ralph brings 20 years’ experience in strategy, research, and nonprofit and philanthropic leadership. She previously worked at The Aspen Institute, where she served as Assistant, Associate, and Interim Director of the program and Director of its Religion and Philanthropy Initiative. She also previously managed events at the El-Hibri Foundation and The Catholic University of America. Allison has a PhD in church history from The Catholic University of America, and an MPhil from Cambridge University. Her graduate research focused on how societies manage or fail to manage their internal diversity, and how they create and maintain social boundaries. 

Leadership & Program Development

While at the Aspen Institute, Allison helped to bring the Religion & Society Program from a side project with a <$100K annual budget to a $1.6M program. She developed the strategy for, implemented, and iterated on the Powering Pluralism Network, composed of about 160 scholars and practitioners across seven separate fields of religious pluralism. This network bridged religious, sectoral, racial, and ideological differences to build relationships and produce scholarship intended to strengthen each field. 

She also transformed the Religion & Philanthropy Initiative to create new pathways for philanthropic organizations to learn about and engage with religion where it already intersects with their work. Originally working with a small group of funders, she created a new strategy to expand the potential reach of the program to several thousand.

In addition, she created Network and Philanthropy Initiative programming that was exceptionally warm and productive. In some contexts, base levels of mistrust between program participants required behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to ensure all participants felt seen, heard, and able to express public disagreement with other members of the group. She managed planning carefully, ensuring that well-prepared materials and smooth logistics allowed participants to live into ideas, discussions, and downtime with each other. 

At Aspen, Allison implemented a research fellows program that produced original works by Brie Loskota of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, Dr. Kate Soules of Religion & Education, and Asma Uddin, Esq., author and religious liberty professor at the Catholic University of America, and co-authored work with social sector researcher Dr. Brad Fulton of the University of Indiana University. She also partnered with the research firm PRRI and the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving to produce a landscape analysis of philanthropic support for religious pluralism. 

She wrote or co-wrote every grant that supported the program from 2019–2022, managed the growing staff, and set up all internal operations structures including introducing project management software and building custom accounting and budgeting Excel tools.


Publication & Speaking

During her five-year tenure at Aspen, Allison edited Pluralism in Peril: Challenges to an American Ideal, developed a seven-component framework to understand the system of religious pluralism, published both academic and industry papers on religion and philanthropy, and contributed to a special journal issue on Religious Literacy in Education. 

She has spoken from the mainstage at the International Religious Freedom Summit and the El-Hibri Foundation Peace Awards Ceremony, and has given talks at Upswell, United Philanthropy Forum, and the American Academy of Religion. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Center for Faith, Identity, and Globalization and at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute. 

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